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2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15th

MN Health Staff Writer | September 13, 2017

Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period is for SWITCHING Medicare Advantage & Prescription Drug plans


The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period is the one time each year when you can switch your Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug (MAPD), or Part D Prescription Drug (PDP) plan.  This means that if you don’t like your current policy, you would use this time to enroll in a different plan to replace it, with an effective date of January 1.  Medicare plans can change each year—things like the premium, coverages, and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks. You should compare the cost and coverages of your current MA, MAPD, or PDP plan to see if it is still the best fit.  If needed, you can change Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better suit you.  If you're satisfied that your current plan will meet your needs for next year, and provided that it is still being offered, you don’t need to do anything.   With a list of your current providers and medications, the licensed agents at MN Health Insurance Network can compare all of the Medicare plans that they represent in your area for free, and make suitable recommendations.  Contact us at (952) 224-0123.


Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period is typically NOT for First Time Enrollment


As we said, generally, the Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) is for changing plans.  The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is when you are new to Medicare Part B, and ideally the best time to first enroll.  However, you may enroll in plans for the first time during the AEP, as well.  Not sure when to enroll for the first time?   Contact one of our Medicare Brokers at MNHI today.


Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15th – December 7th


The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period runs for 54 days.  You may only make changes or enroll in plans from October 15th through December 7th, with the effect date being January 1st.  If you miss this enrollment window, you will need to keep the plan that you currently have for another year.


Don’t confuse Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period with the Obamacare Open Enrollment


As if Medicare wasn’t already confusing enough, now there is one more thing to add to the chaos!  The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has its own "open enrollment” period around the same time as the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period.  The two enrollments are very different, with different start and end dates.   Just remember that the Obamacare open enrollment is not for Medicare eligible individuals.


Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans Open Enrollment


Many people believe that they can switch to a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period. These Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans have a unique guaranteed issue enrollment period of 6 months, which usually begins on the first of the month when you turn 65 and are first eligible for Medicare Part B. This initial period allows you to enroll these plans guaranteed, regardless of your health.  But if you miss this period and wish to enroll later, you will be subject to medical underwriting, and could be declined.


 Next Steps


Prior to (and during) the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, you will want to know and understand any changes that will be occurring to your current Medicare policy for the upcoming year.  If you determine that your plan still meets your needs, you don’t need to do anything.  On the other hand, If you are unhappy with your existing Medicare plan, or just want to see what else is out there, give us a call at (952) 224-0123.

Category: Medicare Supplement